Robotics and AI - Changing Healthcare For Good.
Hello valued readers, please follow the most scientific and evidence-based suggestions that our government recommends (gov.uk/coronavirus), where appropriate, I urge you to follow lockdown and maintain social distancing for the good of yourself and families. One instance of contact is all that is necessary for you to contribute to the spread of this virus, even to those whom you love, to those who have worked day and night to become clinical staff, it would be nothing but a great shame to endanger far more lives for your own mistakes - it’s difficult but we will all get through it as a united globe. Stay safe, and best wishes from myself and all at AI Daily.
As we all know, the inception of artificial intelligence has the potential to yield many benefits in various sectors – particularly where there are clear requirements for more efficient processing of workloads, a reduction of strain on the sector’s existing workforce who may be overworked as it is – no field resonates with these principles in the same manner as healthcare. In fact, from the early but groundbreaking works of Christopher Strachey and Dietrich Prinz (who were the forefathers of AI – making small programs that would play checkers and chess respectively), it is fair enough to say AI has met the ambitions of its users – allowing a creative space for innovation and finally getting to a point where these ambitions have been brought into consumer packages that are ready to make practical changes in the way we handle healthcare. From all those preposterous claims in the advent of AI, a few have been brought to the modern but scrutinizing spotlight in packages championed by massive companies such as IBM and Alphabet Inc (the parent organization of Google). In this article, I hope to give a rundown of the various manner in which artificial intelligence has entered our medical space.
Robotics is truly a bustling area with the upcommance of artificial intelligence, but in the context of surgery - it is important to recognise that surgical tools are ‘control weapons’. This means that it is paramount that the do not’s are well and truly covered before the do’s are considered - a single mistake by the algorithm could be disastrous - not only tarnishing the idea of AI-enabled robotics in surgery potentially but ultimately harming a patient in a reckless manner, as these tools should only be deployed once and only when they are certainly going to work as they should - to no longer be experimenting but rather executing movements in a calculated manner and if this is not the case, the finger will inevitably be pointed right back at the researchers which will then stifle the progress made in the area. However, recently Activ Surgical, a Boston-based startup, secured $15 million in venture funding in order to help build on the ActivEdge platform, which uses real-time data and processes it in a way to guide surgeons and to ultimately prevent errors to make the surgical process as smooth and as efficient as possible, in fact, according to WedMB, in 2012, ‘More than 4,000 preventable mistakes occur in surgery every year at a cost of more than $1.3 billion in medical malpractice payouts’ which clearly tells us that there is simply no room for mistakes within this field - the payout sum is meaningless, it is the fact that 4,000 (and potentially much more now) patients faced the consequences of mistakes in surgery, something that should be massively reduced for the good of our patients but also to restore the trust that people have for their healthcare system, however, respect is earned so hard-work, scrutiny and toil will be required to bring robotics tools that are worthy of trust.
UV light has been around for years when it comes to the idea of disinfection - mainly in drinking water as it provides a manner for sterilising water sources without the use of (potentially harmful) chemicals. However, research conducted by the International Ultraviolet Association (IUVA) supports that UV light could also be used to combat coronavirus. Although the UVD Robot predates the coronavirus pandemic, its utilisation of UV light provides a means of combating the virus. Simply, the system was developed over four years, and consists of a mobile base that scans its immediate surroundings using an array of LIDAR sensors and creates a digital map, to which a user can highlight areas of interest where another array consisting of UV lamps will then visit these areas to harness the power of UV to disinfect the local air space. In light of the research conducted by the IUVA, Sanitizexperts, a small Dubai-based company, have released the ‘Automated UVC Robot’ which uses a similar concept and is directly released in light of the current pandemic, whereas the UVD Robot has been in commerce since 2018.
Thank you to Simon Leonard and his team, Activ Surgical, UVD Robots and Sanitizexperts and all those who are working hard to progress robotics into the next frontier, to a standard that can handle something as variable yet delicate as the human body - these pioneering efforts are vital to establish the technologies of the future that will bring surgery into a standard befitting the 21st century.
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